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Entire cabinet must resign if it can't exorcise M'sia of its infamy

MP SPEAKS | Congratulations to the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Abdul Razak!

He has hit the international jackpot as no other incident in his seven years as prime minister has so dominated world headlines in the last 36 hours as his brainchild – the 1MDB monster – after the expanded United States Department of Justice (DOJ) litigation to forfeit another US$540 million of assets it alleged were stolen from 1MDB, bringing the total 1MDB assets US DOJ wants to be forfeited because of money-laundering to more than US$4.5 billion.

The latest US DOJ action has laid to rest the hopes of some in the inner Najib circle that the new US President Trump would quash the US DOJ kleptocratic action on 1MDB, as Najib boasts as Trump’s “golfing buddy” and “favourite Prime Minister” with Najib having a signed photograph of Trump on his desk.

Nobody knows whether Trump’s signed photograph would now be removed, but Trump is fighting for his political life, with the fastest worsening presidential approval rating falling below 40 percent in the history of US Presidents, and facing possible impeachment proceedings following investigation for obstruction of justice, to have much time and thought for Najib and the 1MDB scandal.

There is, in fact, a large betting market in the US as to whether Trump could finish his first term of office.

I said yesterday that attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali cannot be more wrong when he suggested that there was nothing new in the expanded DOJ kleptocratic suit on 1MDB money-laundering, as there is much more new information as a result of almost a year of continued investigations into 1MDB money-laundering all over the world – except in Malaysia – such as the following:

  • The US DOJ expanding its total of 1MDB-linked assets it sought to forfeit in less than a year from US$1 billion to US$1.7 billion with the total money-laundering involved increasing from US$3.5 billion to US$4.5 billion;

  • The alleged “criminal conduct” in “four principal phases” over approximately five-year period from 2009 to 2014, where “multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means, including by defrauding foreign banks and by sending them foreign wire communications in furtherance of the scheme, and thereafter, to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct, including in and through US financial institutions”; where the funds diverted from 1MDB were allegedly “used for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators and their relatives and associates including to purchase luxury real estate in the United States and overseas, pay gambling expenses at Las Vegas casinos, acquire more than US$200 million in artwork, purchase lavish gifts for family members and associates, invest in a major New York real estate development project, and fund the production of major Hollywood films”.

  • The original DOJ suit in July 2016 referred to only “three principal phases” – the “Good Star” Phase, the “Aabar-BVI” Phase and the “Tanore” Phase. There is now a fourth “Options Buy-Back” Phase, (covering 27 pages and 90 paragraphs) where some US$850 million in 1MDB funds was allegedly misappropriated under the guise of paying Aabar to relinquish certain options it had been given in consideration of IPIC’s guarantee of the 2012 bonds. 1MDB borrowed US$1.22 billion from a syndicate of banks led by Deutsche Bank in Singapore to fund these payments of Aabar, but US$850 million were allegedly diverted to Aabar-BVI and Aabar-Seychelles, that “appeared to be, but were not affiliated with IPIC and Aabar”.

  • The revelation that after the idea for the PetroSaudi and 1MDB joint venture was allegedly discussed in the summer of 2009 at a meeting arranged by Jho Low “between Malaysian Official 1 and co-founders of PetroSaudi abroad a yacht off the coast of Monaco” (which was the single event which initiated the monstrous 1MDB scam), Low allegedly emailed his parents, brothers and sister on or about Sept 7, 2009: “Just closed the deal with Petro Saudi. Looks like we may have hit a goldmine.” Jho Low had indeed struck a “goldmine”, but one which had to be paid by 30 million Malaysians and future generations!

A longer list of 1MDB-linked assets allegedly acquired from stolen 1MDB funds, including:

  1. The Equanimity yacht;

  2. 2.5 million shares of Series D Preferred Stock in Palantir Technologies, a software company;

  3. All rights and interests in the Electrum Group, an investment management company;

  4. Rights to the film "Dumb and Dumber" produced by Red Granite Pictures; Rights to the film "Daddy's Home" produced by Red Granite Pictures; A single frame 3-sheet colour lithograph poster by German artist Heinz Schulz-Neudamm for the 1927 silent film "Metropolis";

  5. All rights and interests in Fly Wheel Sports, a fitness club chain;

  6. One 11.72-carat heart-shaped diamond;

  7. One 8.88-carat fancy intense pink diamond pendant surrounded by 11-carat fancy intense pink diamonds;

  8.  One 18-carat white gold diamond jewellery set, including a diamond necklace, diamond earring, diamond bracelet, and diamond ring;

  9. One pair of diamond earrings and matching diamond ring, consisting a 7.53-carat flawless type 2A diamond, a 3.05-carat flawless type 2A diamond and a 3.08-carat flawless type 2A diamond;

  10. A painting entitled “Nature Morte au Crane de Taureau” by Pablo Picasso;

  11. A collage entitled “Redman One” by Jean-Michel Basquiat;

  12. A photograph entitled “Boy with the Toy Hand Grenade” by Diane Arbus.

This results in more information about the alleged international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal as a result of criminal and regulatory investigations and actions in some 10 countries and jurisdictions since US DOJ action in July 2016, except in Malaysia.

Attorney-general Apandi complained that the Malaysian government had not received any request from the US DOJ to obtain any information or evidence.

Only the DOJ can respond to the attorney-general, but Malaysians still remember the caustic statement by the Swiss attorney-general Michael Lauber in April that he was confident that the 1MDB money-laundering probe would bear fruits despite the Malaysian authorities’ refusal to co-operate.

The Minister for Communications and Multimedia Salleh Said Keruak may not realise how correct he was to raise the issue of treason in connection with the US DOJ kleptocratic action.

No loyal and patriotic Malaysian can read the updated 251-page USA DOJ kleptocratic suit to forfeit US$1.7 billion MDB-linked assets arising from US$4.5 billion 1MDB money-laundering without consternation and horror and only those who are prepared to commit treason will be unaffected, unmoved and untouched by the US DOJ action.

What is kleptocracy? The US DOJ kleptocratic action on the 1MDB assets is a classic lesson not only to Malaysians but to the world, as to what constitutes kleptocracy.

The expanded 251-page US DOJ kleptocratic action is the greatest shame to Malaysia in our 60-year history.

Unless we can disprove the kleptocratic allegations in the US DOJ action, without having to wait for the US court proceedings to take their course in the US courts, Malaysia deserves the international infamy and ignominy of a “global kleptocracy”.

The expanded 251-page US DOJ kleptocracy suit on 1MDB is a “must read” for all ministers, members of parliament and loyal and patriotic Malaysians who love and care about Malaysia’s good name and reputation in the world.

I call on the 36 ministers to place the subject of the expanded 251-page US DOJ kleptocratic suit on top of the cabinet agenda next Wednesday, and decide on how to cleanse and purge Malaysia of the infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”.

If the cabinet is unable as a matter of national priority clear or cleanses Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”, I call on the entire cabinet to collectively resign on Wednesday for failing to defend Malaysia’s good name and reputation in the world.

LIM KIT SIANG is DAP parliamentary leader and the MP for Gelang Patah.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.